If you’re going to transition a culture, it’s going to take a lot of hands-on work.
So let’s lay out a place to start.
This is a little picture called “Permaculture Ethics.” It was created by David Holgren and is supposed to be a simple roadmap to a different kind of society — a ‘permanent culture’, resilient and consistent. (more can be found here)
The three circles represent: CARE FOR PEOPLE (red), CARE FOR THE EARTH (green) and FAIR SHARE (blue).
CARE FOR THE PEOPLE
We don’t want to distress you but you need to understand this. Modern stores have only 3 days worth of product in stock. The water shipped in to the Valley relies on a complicated system that can (and has) broken down.
Without fresh water, you can only survive about 3 days. A fireman, in a public disaster preparedness seminar estimated that they were anticipating a MONTH without services after a major disaster.
So let’s get this off the table first. Here’s resources to help step away from that brink.
- Let’s get some of that water of yours back into the landscape with a free program (for those who qualify): Los Angeles Rain Gardens Another way to look at it would be here: smart ways to capture your rainwater.
- And now… some more information on DIY Water Harvesting (if they can do it successfully in the Arizona desert, we can do it here!)
- Having dealt with water, how about converting your lawn into gardens? Yes. I am shamelessly plugging a friend here and I expect to add MANY more local links as soon as some of you read this, get huffy about it and send me the name of your (or your friend’s) business.
- Hold on… you want to do it yourself? Oh, good! You can start here, to help reclaim your soil. And this technique — hugelkultur – might be part of the key to reviving the exhausted soil of the Valley.
- Oh, don’t think I’ve forgotten you renters. A certain amount of windowsill gardening may be the key to growing fresh herbs (good for trade, at the least!), which can also be vital for health and an ingredient for small cottage industries (soap & candle making, herbal baths, perfumes, etc.)
- In the meantime, get to know your local CSA (community supported agriculture) and farmer’s markets!
Want more resources? We’ll be putting more on this page as they come available.
CARE FOR THE EARTH
In addition to entertainment, the Valley has played host to the defense industry, rabid urbanization and legions of visiting plant & wildlife that want to strangle out the natives. That’s left us with kind of a toxic mess. (Did you know about the nuclear meltdown up in the northwest part of the Valley? Yes. We had a nuclear meltdown. Oh… and we’ve got a superfund site).
This is what we commonly call a challenge. Here’s some solutions we can work with NOW:
- Paul Stamets has done some astonishing work with mycoremediation — using fungus to clean up horrifically toxic environments. It could do wonders here, too. You may want to start by contacting the L.A. Mycological Society.
- The Los Angeles River is coming back! Originating in Chatsworth, it used to flow down the southwest side of the Valley before hitting the southern mountains, veering east and then south one last time before it dumped into L.A.. Now, both the State and the city are trying to restore it. We — and the land! — need this. So check out FOLA (Friends of the L.A. River) and find out where and when you can help!
- In the battle to keep our environment healthy, there’s really no greater friend than the Theodore Payne Society, which works hard to educate people on native plants and their invasive cousins that are causing a serious problem. And if you’d like some trees in there, let’s not forget Tree People. Trees are vital for regenerating the soil, trapping moisture and creating perennial crops.
- Of course, if you really want to understand how the local land works, why not talk to the locals? Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center offers workshops and a museum that highlight the local history of knowledge of the Valley. Since the tribes have been here for several thousand years, they have a wealth of experience and observation specific to this locale.
We’ll be including plenty more resources on this page as they come in!
If you think you can successfully transition while ignoring the two million or so other community members that live in the Valley, you might be in for a shock. We’re all in this together.
Given that, here’s some resources to help us spread the support around.
- The San Fernando Valley Time Exchange is a pay it forward system that connects unmet needs with untapped resources. For every hour you provide service to a member, you earn an Exchange Hour. You can then use the Exchange Hour to receive an hour of service from a member. Everyone’s time is valued equally no matter the type of service.
- The Freecycle Network™ is a grassroots movement of people giving (and getting) stuff for free to keep stuff out of landfills. Membership is free, and everything posted must be FREE, legal and appropriate for all ages. There’s a strong local group in Northridge, which covers much of the Valley. To view the local group posts, visit the local Yahoo Group
- For those with the green thumb and the time, perhaps you’d like to help out / start a Community Garden? Perhaps the L.A. Community Garden Council can help you out.
- These three organizations stand out for their help to the local community. Perhaps you can support them. Perhaps you need their help. But either way, they’re the ones out on the line, day after day. MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity), Pukúu (means ‘One’ in Tataviam), and SOVA (means ‘Eat and be satisfied’ in Hebrew).
As our understanding of our amazing local web of resources increases, we’ll be posting more links here.